The sexual harassment scandal surrounding Harvey Weinstein deepened on Tuesday when three women accused the Hollywood producer of rape in an article in the New Yorker, allegations he “unequivocally denied” through a spokeswoman.
The accusations come just days after nearly a dozen women recounted sexual harassment by Weinstein to the New York Times and other publications, causing the Weinstein production company to fire its once-formidable cofounder.
Asia Argento, an Italian actress and director, Lucia Evans, a former aspiring actor, and one unnamed women accused Weinstein of forcing them to engage in sex or sex acts in a piece authored by Ronan Farrow. The son of actress Mia Farrow, Ronan Farrow previously helped reignite his sister Dylan’s accusations that their father, Woody Allen, groomed and sexually assaulted her as a child, an allegation Allen denies.
Four other women told the magazine that Weinstein touched them without their consent in a way “that could be classified as an assault”.
Others including actors Mira Sorvino and Rosanna Arquette alleged sexual harassment on the part of the Hollywood mogul.
Farrow also revealed audio from 2015 New York Police Department sting operation in which Weinstein allegedly admits to groping Ambra Battilana Gutierrez, a model who reported his behavior, and said he was “used to” behaving that way.
“Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr Weinstein,” a spokeswoman told the New Yorker, adding that he never retaliated against women who refused his sexual advances. “Mr Weinstein obviously can’t speak to anonymous allegations, but with respect to any women who have made allegations on the record, Mr Weinstein believes that all of these relationships were consensual.”
After the New York Times article, Weinstein apologized for his past behavior but denied many of the specific allegations against him. Attorneys on Weinstein’s legal team denied that he engaged in illegal sexual harassment and have threatened to sue the New York Times over inaccurate statements. His team has not filed a libel suit or specified which statements are inaccurate.
Sixteen former or current executives and assistants at Weinstein’s companies told the New Yorker about unwanted sexual contact or advances in the workplace or at events surrounding Weinstein-produced films.
Echoing previous claims, many of these sources said Weinstein made sexual advances on young women in entertainment under the guise of professional meetings. They also claimed that they feared Weinstein’s retaliation for refusing his advances, and that executives within Weinstein’s company knew about complaints over his behavior.
In addition to the accusations of unwanted sexual contact, four women claimed Weinstein exposed himself to them or masturbated in front of them. Two women have come forward in the past week with similar stories: Lauren Sivan, a television reporter, and Today Show co-host Kathie Lee Gifford.